Making History: The First Female Governor of New York

Richard Zhang, Managing Editor of Digital


On August 28th, 2021, history was made as Kathy Hochul took the oath of office and stepped into her role as the 57th and first female governor of New York. Hochul takes leadership of the state in unprecedented times, as it struggles to recover from both the pandemic and Hurricane Ida. She is a Democrat hailing from a blue-collar Irish family in upstate Buffalo, New York, and has taken a long road to get to where she is now. 

   Hochul started off in politics as a young attorney and aide to Senator Daniel Patrick Monyhan, and then worked for fourteen years as a member of her town board, before being appointed Erie county clerk in 2007. Her big breakthrough was in 2011, where, in a special election in a mostly Republican district in New York, Hochul was elected to the House of Representatives. Her win was viewed across the country as a referendum to then House Budget Committee leader Paul Ryan’s stance to bankrupt Social Security and Medicare. As a result of her strong stances in congress, now-former governor Andrew Cuomo picked her to be his running mate in the governor’s election in 2014, where they both eventually won as Hochul was named the lieutenant governor of New York. She was re-elected in 2018 and was named governor after the resignation of Cuomo.

   So far, Hochul has promised to communicate effectively with the public and her staff, and be transparent, unlike her predecessor. She has already released the true facts and figures of the number of deaths in nursing homes in New York, which is something that Cuomo had tried to hide from the public. Additionally, she has promised that anyone who applies for aid will be barred from eviction for another year. In addition to this, she has already appointed multiple women to her staff and hopes to set an example for young women, as she said in a recent interview with CBS, “I want every young woman… to realize that this is a place where they have a role. We need their voices. We need that diversity. We’re getting there. We’re making progress on more elected women. But I want by the end of my administration, for every woman to say there are no barriers… We’re looking forward to making sure that my reputation and the reputation of my administration is one that is completely ethical.” 

   Hochul, now a former lieutenant governor, has already tapped someone new for the position. She nominated New York state senator Brian Benjamin, who currently represents most of Central Harlem and a few areas around it. Hochul and Benjamin have both promised to bring diversity, experience, and most importantly transparency to the city in its darkest hour. This change of leadership in New York will hopefully help lead to the end of COVID-19, and bring back the city of bright lights that people love.